Donald Trump Welcomes Offer to Mediate with Iran

Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, is set to offer himself as a mediator amid the escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran. Donald Trump has said he would support Shinzo Abe’s efforts to act as a mediator between the US and Iran, as reports suggested the Japanese prime minister would visit Tehran next month for talks with the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.

“I know that the prime minister and Japan have a very good relationship with Iran so we’ll see what happens,” Trump, who has offered Tehran direct talks, told reporters before a working lunch with Abe.

Trump later said Washington was not interested in regime change in Iran. “I’m looking to Iran to say no nuclear weapons,” he said. “I think we’ll make a deal. Iran has tremendous economic potential. We’re not looking for regime change; we’re looking for no nuclear weapons. I’m not looking to hurt Iran at all.”

Abe said Japan “would like to do whatever it can. Japan and the US should collaborate closely so that tensions surrounding Iran are lessened and do not result in armed conflict”.

Japan has longstanding ties with Iran and opposed Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Before US sanctions on Iran, Japan was a major importer of Iranian oil.

Mr Abe first visited Iran in a personal capacity in 1983 and has continued links with the country’s leadership.

Reacting to the idea of him mediating Akihisa Nagashima, a former Japanese defence minister, said: “This is what we call quiet diplomacy.”

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